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MAY IS…

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NATIONAL BIKE MONTH
May is National Bike Month, sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists and celebrated in communities from coast to coast. Established in 1956, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling — and encourage more folks to giving biking a try.

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WITH SO MANY REASONS TO RIDE, WHAT’S YOURS? »

It’s a celebration of bikes; a reminder to get rolling again; a gateway to riding more often; a time to evangelize the beauty of bikes; and much, much more. ince 1956, May has been recognized as National Bike Month, and the League has sponsored this celebration of bicycling for decades. National Bike to Work Week and Bike to Work Day are often cited as the month’s flagship events, occurring the third week and third Friday of May, respectively. Indeed, bike com- muting has grown by 62% from 2000 to 2013 — but Bike Month is about so much more than just getting to and from the office.

The momentum is building: With growing cultural awareness around health and wellness, sustainability and economic savings, bicycling is being seen by new and broader audiences as a simple solution to many complex problems, from reducing obesity rates to increasing mobility options.

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National Bike to Work Week 2015 will be held on May 11-15.
Whether you bike to work or school; ride to save money or time; pump those pedals to preserve your health or the environment; or simply to explore your community, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

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Bicycling has all sorts of health benefits—engaging your legs while being easy on the joints, and providing a sense of freedom and enjoyment. In case you still need convincing, here’s a list of reasons to hop on your bike this spring.

Get out there and take advantage of a nice day.

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There are plenty of ways to enjoy a warm spring afternoon, but riding a bike is one of the most active ways to spend your leisure time. According to NutriStrategy, a relaxing bike ride (<10 mph) burns more calories than an easy walk (2 mph)—281 calories versus 176 calories per hour. Challenge yourself by powering your way up hills and pushing your speed over 10 mph, but even keeping to a leisurely pace is a great way to supplement an active lifestyle.

You’ll look forward to doing it.

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We all have those exercises we dread working on. But even if you hop on your bike and take it seriously—pedaling furiously and feeling a deep burn in your quads—there’s a good chance you’ll still love it despite the difficulty since you’re rewarded with a quick, exhilarating ride. It can also energize you for other exercises you plan to do. Bike instead of driving to the gym to warm up and cool down from your workouts.

It’s much easier on your legs, ankles, knees and feet than running.

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Andy Clarke, the president of the League of American Bicyclists says, “Whether you’re recovering from an injury, looking for a cross-training option or hoping to preserve your knees to run the New York Marathon when you are 85, cycling gets your legs moving and your heart pumping without pounding your joints.” Running has the potential to take its toll on the body. Biking, on the other hand, is far lower impact and engages the muscles in the legs without as much force coming down on the knees. So long as you keep your legs pumping on your bike, it ends up being a smoother, lower risk form of cardio you’ll appreciate, especially if you’re recovering from an injury.

– See more at: http://www.mensfitness.com/weight-loss/burn-fat-fast/10-reasons-to-get-on-a-bike#sthash.mWZ8TtTQ.dpuf

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MAY IS…

MOTHER’S DAY!

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Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. While dates and celebrations vary, Mother’s Day most commonly falls on the second Sunday in May and traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts.

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MOTHER’S DAY: HISTORICAL PRECURSORS
Celebrations of mothers and motherhood can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, who held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele, but the clearest modern precedent for Mother’s Day is the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday.” Once a major tradition in the United Kingdom and parts of Europe, this celebration fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent and was originally seen as a time when the faithful would return to their “mother church”—the main church in the vicinity of their home—for a special service. Over time the Mothering Sunday tradition shifted into a more secular holiday, and children would present their mothers with flowers and other tokens of appreciation. This custom eventually faded in popularity before merging with the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.

More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year.

These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.

MOTHER’S DAY: EARLY INCARNATIONS
The roots of the modern American Mother’s Day date back to the 19th century. In the years before the Civil War (1861-65), Ann Reeves Jarvis of West Virginia helped start “Mothers’ Day Work Clubs” to teach local women how to properly care for their children. These clubs later became a unifying force in a region of the country still divided over the Civil War. In 1868 Jarvis organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote reconciliation.

Another precursor to Mother’s Day came from the abolitionist and suffragette Julia Ward Howe. In 1870 Howe wrote the “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” a call to action that asked mothers to unite in promoting world peace. In 1873 Howe campaigned for a “Mother’s Peace Day” to be celebrated every June 2. Other early Mother’s Day pioneers include Juliet Calhoun Blakely, a temperance activist who inspired a local Mother’s Day in Albion, Michigan, in the 1870s. The duo of Mary Towles Sasseen and Frank Hering, meanwhile, both worked to organize a Mothers’ Day in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some have even called Hering “the father of Mothers’ Day.”

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MOTHER’S DAY: FOUNDING BY ANNA JARVIS
The official Mother’s Day holiday arose in the 1900s as a result of the efforts of Anna Jarvis, daughter of Ann Reeves Jarvis. Following her mother’s 1905 death, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. After gaining financial backing from a Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker, in May 1908 she organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. That same day also saw thousands of people attend a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s retail stores in Philadelphia.

Following the success of her first Mother’s Day, Jarvis—who remained unmarried and childless her whole life—resolved to see her holiday added to the national calendar. Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood. By 1912 many states, towns and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday, and Jarvis had established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. Her persistence paid off in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

Anna Jarvis had originally conceived of Mother’s Day as a day of personal celebration between mothers and families. Her version of the day involved wearing a white carnation as a badge and visiting one’s mother or attending church services. But once Mother’s Day became a national holiday, it was not long before florists, card companies and other merchants capitalized on its popularity.

While Jarvis had initially worked with the floral industry to help raise Mother’s Day’s profile, by 1920 she had become disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. She outwardly denounced the transformation and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards and candies. Jarvis eventually resorted to an open campaign against Mother’s Day profiteers, speaking out against confectioners, florists and even charities. She also launched countless lawsuits against groups that had used the name “Mother’s Day,” eventually spending most of her personal wealth in legal fees. By the time of her death in 1948 Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar.

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MOTHER’S DAY: CELEBRATIONS AND TRADITIONS
While versions of Mother’s Day are celebrated throughout the world, traditions vary depending on the country. In Thailand, for example, Mother’s Day is always celebrated in August on the birthday of the current queen, Sirikit. Another alternate observance of Mother’s Day can be found in Ethiopia, where families gather each fall to sing songs and eat a large feast as part of Antrosht, a multi-day celebration honoring motherhood.

In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting mothers and other women with gifts and flowers, and it has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families might also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores. At times Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. In 1968 Coretta Scott King, wife of Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march in support of underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s women’s groups also used the holiday as a time to highlight the need for equal rights and access to childcare.

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Month of Mary-May Devotions

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“God wills that all his gifts should come to us through Mary” (St. Bernard)

 

It was in Rome, towards the end of the eighteenth century, one fine evening in May. A child of the poor gathered his companions around him and led them to a statue of Mary, before which a lamp was burning, as is the custom in that holy city. There, these fresh young voices sang the Litany of our Lady. The next day, the little group, followed by other children, again gathered at the feet of the Mother of God. Next came their mothers, to join the little assembly. Soon, other groups were formed, and the devotion rapidly became popular. Holy souls, troubled by the disorderly conduct which always increases and becomes graver at the return of the pleasant springtime, saw in these growing practices the hand of God, and they cooperated with the designs of Providence by approving and promoting this new devotion, as a public and solemn act of reparation. The Month of Mary was founded. 5

“This is the month in which, in the churches and individual homes, the most affectionate and fervent homage of prayers and devotions from the hearts of Christians are raised to Mary. It is also the month in which from his throne descend upon us the most generous and abundant gifts of the Divine Mercy.”6

In our own times, we Catholics, wanting to be close to her always, offer her special presents in May: pilgrimages, visits to churches dedicated to her, little sacrifices in her honor, periods of study and well-finished work offered up to her, and a more attentive recitation of the rosary.

MARIAN READINGS

May 1
MARY: THE MOTHER OF GOD

“When the Blessed Virgin said yes, freely, to the plans revealed to her by the Creator, the divine Word assumed a human nature — a rational soul and a body — which was formed in the most pure womb of Mary. The divine nature and the human were united in a single Person: Jesus Christ, true God and, thenceforth, true man; the only begotten and eternal son of the Father and from that mo­ment on, as man, the true son of Mary. This is why our Lady is the mother of the Incarnate Word, of the second person of the Blessed Trinity, who has united our human nature to himself for ever, without any confusion of the two natures. The greatest praise we can give to the Blessed Virgin is to address her loudly and clearly by the name that expresses her very highest dignity: ‘Mother of God’.” 7

Let us offer to our Mother today:

Brief but frequent prayers of love, such as:

“Mother of God, your petitions are most powerful.”

READ MORE>>

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National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
By Judi Sheppard MissettJazzercise

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, designated in 1983 by the President’s Council on Fitness to promote healthy lifestyles among all Americans and improve our quality of life.

American leaders realized fitness was vital for our citizens as early as 1956, when President Eisenhower created the President’s Council on Youth Fitness, renamed in the early 1960s by President Kennedy as the President’s Council on Physical Fitness to include people of all ages.

As the President’s Council reminds us, every physical activity counts in your goal to become more fit. The time we devote to keep our bodies moving will reward us tenfold in happiness with the extra energy, productivity and good health we’ll enjoy for the rest of our lives.

Popular Activities Near You
Everywhere
Regiment Fitness Dragon Boat Race
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordhshire
The Big Blue Run
London, Essex
The Hiit Man Race
London, London
The Swanbourne Endeavour 2015
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Explore Similar Activities

Here are some ways to get your body moving:
Be a Sport
Join a community sports league—softball, soccer, basketball, flag football or even Ultimate Frisbee. You will have a blast and get your exercise in at the same time.
Join a Group
Working out with others keeps you on target. Your classmates will hold you accountable for attending each day and you’ll enjoy working up a sweat together.
Exercise with Mom
For Mother’s Day, take some time to help Mom feel great. Depending upon her fitness level, take her for a scenic drive followed by a healthy lunch and brief stroll, or if she’s able, show her some gentle yoga stretches or tai chi motions. If mom is really fit, she might take you for a walk.
Have a Ball with Your Children
Engage your kids in fitness and fun. Toss a football across the yard, kick a soccer ball through a park, or take turns swatting a baseball with a bat and running to get the ball. Return home for a healthy snack accompanied by water or unsweetened juice.
Hip Hoopla
Remember Hula Hoops? Swirling a hoop around your swiveling hips is fabulous exercise for your abdominal muscles and your entire torso from the action and from all the laughing you’ll do. If you have children, have them join in; they might show you a thing or two.
Jack of All Trades
Jumping jacks can be done anywhere. All you need is your body and the desire to feel vital. Try variations such as half-jacks (raise your arms to shoulder height only), power jacks (finish each one with a squat) or scissors jacks (scissors your legs on each jump).
Whatever your fitness level, get moving in May and beyond. Your body will thank you.

Active logoGet moving in a fitness class.

Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall “feel good” factor. For more information go to jazzercise.com or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.

 

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